Mayfield advances to tournament final

Mayfield defender Tommy Gates (12) clears the ball away from Waterford-Halfmoon’s Nikilo Ghidei during opening round action at the Mayfield Sports Booster Club tournament Saturday at Mayfield High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

MAYFIELD — Soccer players are coached early in their careers to follow the shot and be prepared to finish the rebound, especially on a rainy day.

The Mayfield Panthers must have been paying attention as three of their five goals came off second chances in their 5-1 victory over Waterford-Halfmoon in the opening round of the Mayfield Sports Booster Club tournament Saturday at Mayfield High School.

“Every coach that has ever coached a soccer game has emphasized to these kids to follow shots and not count on the keeper to make clean catches,” Mayfield coach Jon Caraco said. “Sometimes it can be fortuitous with that. I have a couple of forwards in Alex Ringer and Colby Brndow who are very good at hustling and scrapping for balls. Today we were lucky to get a couple of rebound shots in.”

Mayfield (4-0 overall) advances to next Saturday’s championship game and will take on Greenville at 4 p.m. The Spartans advanced to the title match with a 4-1 victory over Lake George.

The Mayfield defense held off a solid early-game surge by the Fordians and set up the Panthers first goal of the match.

Defender Tommy Gates cleared a ball that found its way to Drew Snyder on the left wing. Snyder took the ball down the right sideline before firing a shot on goal that Waterford goalkeeper Mike Thomas knocked down but could not control. Ringer was in position to touch the loose ball over the line and put Mayfield up 1-0.

Later in the opening half Snyder again hit a solid attempt toward net that hit off a Fordian defender and rolled out toward midfield where Dylan Bumpus stepped into the rolling ball and drove a 25-yard line drive into the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage.

The Panthers took the score to 3-0 at the half when Daniel Leach broke in free behind the Waterford defense but had the ball knocked away by goalkeeper Jon Burris as he charged out to challenge the play. The deflected ball ended on in Snyder’s possession and he finished the play into the open net with three minutes left in the opening half.

“Everybody knows that in soccer rain makes the ball skip and makes funny things happen,” Caraco said. “This is our third game this week and the third game we have played in the rain. It is also the third game this week that I have said at halftime be prepared to follow your shots and play for bad bounces.”

The Panthers extended their lead three minutes into the second half when Garrett Delaney moved up from his defensive position and headed home a corner kick from John Fancher for a 4-0 advantage.

“Corner kicks have not been our thing this year,” Caraco said. “I think we missed our first 30 or so corner kicks before getting one last night against Northville and then another one today. So maybe we are over the hump on corner kicks now and we can start making that a weapon.”

Mayfield closed out its scoring with 23 minutes left to play when Snyder again hit a solid shot on net that Burris got the initial save on but Ringer again trailed the play and was in position to touch the ball across the line for a 4-0 lead.

The Fordians broke up the shutout bid with seven minutes left to play when Hunter Guertin received a ball out of the midfield, beat his defender and finished the play with a shot into the lower right corner to put the final score at 5-1.

For the match Mayfield out shot Waterford 18-6 and held an 8-4 advantage in corner kicks.

Evan Lehr collected five saves in net for Mayfield, while Mike Thomas had two saves and Burris had nine saves in goal for the Fordians.

Looking forward to next Saturday’s title match against Greenville, Caraco said, “They played an excellent game against Lake George. Their back four are very fast and have a lot of speed in the midfield. We will have to be ready for that one.”

The Spartans got a hat trick from Cole Ackerman, while Aidan O’Connor added a fourth goal for Greenville.

Ethan Knauf came out of a pack in front of the goal to finish the play for Lake George’s lone goal of the match.

The Warriors will face Waterford-Halfmoon in the consolation match at 2 p.m. next Saturday.

By Paul Wager

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